(Bloomberg) — Workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Canadian unit avoided a strike, reaching a tentative agreement late Tuesday after extending negotiations by 24 hours from a previous deadline.
Unifor, the Canadian autoworkers’ union, pushed for improved pension benefits, higher wages and support for workers during the electric-vehicle transition.
“When faced with the prospect of an all-out strike by 5,600 Unifor members at every single one of Ford’s facilities in Canada, the company made a significant offer to the union,” the union said in a statement.
“The gains achieved were hard fought for over weeks of negotiations at every subcommittee, local and main economic bargaining table,” it said. “This painstaking work has resulted in fundamental, transformative gains that addressed our core priorities of pensions, wages and the EV transition.”
Ford said in a statement that a tentative agreement had been reached on a three-year national labor contract covering unionized workers in Canada.
“The agreement is subject to ratification by Ford-Unifor members,” the automaker said. “To respect the ratification process, Ford of Canada will not discuss the specifics of the tentative agreement.”
Ford, General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV face the threat of larger strikes by the United Auto Workers in the US. Nearly 13,000 workers walked off jobs at factories in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, and UAW President Shawn Fain said the walkouts will expand Friday if “serious progress” isn’t made in negotiations.
Fain has rejected a Stellantis offer of a 21% raise for UAW members. “It’s definitely a no-go,” Fain said Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation. “We’ve made that very clear.”
In Canada, rather than negotiating with all three major automakers at once, Unifor selected Ford as the “target” company for bargaining.
“We believe that this agreement will solidify the foundations on which we will continue to bargain gains for generations of autoworkers in Canada,” Unifor President Lana Payne said in a separate statement Tuesday.
Ford has one Canadian assembly plant, located in the Toronto suburbs, which employs about 3,600 people to make the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus models, according to the company. It also makes engines in Canada.
—With assistance from Natalie Choy.